"Show You How To Do This Song" is the greatest hip-hop song ever. I know that last week proclaimed "Daytona 500" the greatest hip-hop song in all of known hip-hop history. But my status here as a public intellectual allows me to change my mind, and never bother to explain why. (It was in my contract.)
Moreover, key to my role as a prominent black intellectual is the conveyance of intellectual hipness. The accepted means of doing so usually involves crafting a jive hermeneutic melding Kierkegaard and Jay-Z. But I have never read Kierkegaard, and I just learned what word hermeneutic meant last week. I guess I'll just have to be fickle then.
Snark-aside, "Show You How To Do This Son" is--indeed--a great song. Probably my second favorite Jigga joint ("Dead Presidents Pt. 2" holds the top slot.) What you have here is Jay's classic dark sense of humor, channeling the ethos of drug-dealers and stick-up kids. I'm often shocked that as I've moved into the realm of respectability that this sort of hip-hop maintains a hold on me. But at least once a week I wake up and think:
Get a gun, a mask, an escape route
Some duct-tape'll make em take you to the house.
What "gangsta" rap always channeled was that outsider in all of us. And not the noble outsider, the barbarian, the viking, the savage. For me it was that sense that, "I am not a good person, and I like it." Of course I work hard at being moral, but I'm fairly sure that much of what I have is rooted in lizard-brain desire.
"Gangsta" rap expressed that part. You don't literally want to "get a gun, a mask an escape route," but you do want to go through life with that kind of desperation, with that sort of abandon. I don't think I'll ever age out of that. I don't even want to.
Finally, "Show You How To Do This Son" is notable for its second half ("I Show You How To Do This Hon.") It's one of the rare examples of a rapper like Jay-Z addressing a woman, neither as an object, nor as a mother figure, but with the same fraternal spirit he addresses the dudes in the first half.
There's a kind of incomplete proto-feminism at work there. I can't think of another male rapper bragging about a woman being pleasured so indirectly. First of all rappers rarely brag about giving oral sex, only receiving it. And Jay isn't bragging about giving either, but he's bragging about his knowledge of the street which, in his rendition, is not the exclusive property of men. And the fruits--sexual pleasure, stolen drugs, riches--are not just for men, are not bestowed by men, but are to be taken by women.
It's a great song. Jigga at his dark and humorous finest--"And if your man got you baggin up it could be worse\Just put a little in the baggie, put a little in the purse.
Mounting evidence that Trump’s election was aided by Russian interference presents a challenge to the American system of government—with lasting consequences for democracy.
Day by day, revelation after revelation, the legitimacy of the Trump presidency is seeping away. The question of what to do about this loss is becoming ever more urgent and frightening.
The already thick cloud of discredit over the Trump presidency thickened deeper Friday, June 23. The Washington Post reported that the CIA told President Obama last year that Vladimir Putin had personally and specifically instructed his intelligence agencies to intervene in the U.S. presidential election to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.
Whether the Trump campaign knowingly coordinated its activities with the Russians remains uncertain. The Trump campaign may have been a wholly passive and unwitting beneficiary. Yes, it’s curious that the Russians allegedly directed their resources to the Rust Belt states also targeted by the Trump campaign. But it’s conceivable they were all just reading the same polls on FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics.
Richard Ben-Veniste on the uncanny parallels between the scandal he investigated and the controversy over the White House’s alleged links to Russia
Watching the national controversy over the White House and Russia unfold, I’m reminded of Karl Marx’s oft-quoted observation: “History repeats itself: first as tragedy, second as farce.” I was a close witness to the national tragedy that was Richard Nixon’s self-inflicted downfall as president, and I’ve recently contemplated whether a repeat of his “Saturday Night Massacre” may already be in the offing. Given how that incident doomed one president, Trump would do well to resist repeating his predecessor’s mistakes—and avoid his presidency’s descent into a quasi-Watergate parody.
The massacre began when Nixon gave the order to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, a desperate effort to prevent him from hearing tape-recorded evidence that proved the White House’s involvement in a conspiracy to obstruct the investigation of a break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters. Nixon’s misuse of executive power backfired, immediately costing him two highly respected members of his administration: Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy William Ruckelshaus, who both resigned rather than follow Nixon’s directive. Third in command at the Justice Department was Solicitor General Robert Bork, who agreed to do the dirty deed and fired Cox.
By searching the church's famed family trees, scientists have tracked down a cancer-causing mutation that came west with a pioneer couple—just in time to save the lives of their great-great-great-great grandchildren.
Nobody knew it then, but the genetic mutation came to Utah by wagon with the Hinman family. Lyman Hinman found the Mormon faith in 1840. Amid a surge of religious fervor, he persuaded his wife, Aurelia, and five children to abandon their 21-room Massachusetts house in search of Zion. They went first to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the faith’s prophet and founder, Joseph Smith, was holding forth—until Smith was murdered by a mob and his followers were run out of town. They kept going west and west until there were no towns to be run out of. Food was scarce. They boiled elk horns.The children’s mouths erupted in sores from scurvy. Aurelia lost all her teeth. But they survived. And so did the mutation.
Most used to work in July and August. Now the vast majority don’t. Are they being lazy, or strategic?
The summer job is considered a rite of passage for the American Teenager. It is a time when tossing newspaper bundles and bussing restaurant tables acts as a rehearsal for weightier adult responsibilities, like bundling investments and bussing dinner-party plates. But in the last few decades, the summer job has been disappearing. In the summer of 1978, 60 percent of teens were working or looking for work. Last summer, just 35 percent were.
Why did American teens stop trying to get summer jobs? One typical answer is: They’re just kids, and kids are getting lazier.
One can rule out that hypothesis pretty quickly. The number of teens in the workforce has collapsed since 2000, as the graph below shows. But the share of NEETs—young people who are “Neither in Education, Employment, or Training”—has been extraordinarily steady. In fact, it has not budged more than 0.1 percentage point since the late 1990s. Just 7 percent of American teens are NEETs, which is lower than France and about the same as the mean of all advanced economies in the OECD. The supposed laziness of American teenagers is unchanging and, literally, average.
The party has made gains in special elections, but continues to fall short of outright victory.
Kansas. Montana. Georgia. South Carolina. A string of special election defeats in each state, and with each one, a missed opportunity to take over a Republican House seat, has left Democrats facing the question: Why does the party keep losing elections, and when will that change?
The most obvious reason that Democrats fell short is that the special elections have taken place in conservative strongholds. In each case, Democratic candidates were vying to replace Republicans tapped by the president to serve in his administration, and in districts that Trump won. Despite the unfavorable terrain, Democrats improved on Hillary Clinton’s margin in every district except in Georgia. But if the party wants to take control of the House in 2018, it needs more than just a strong showing in Republican districts. It needs to win.
A Washington Post report on 2016 election interference raises the question: What could Obama have done differently?
If there is one thing TheWashington Post’sstory on the Obama administration’s anemic response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election makes clear, it’s that it took two to make the meddling effective.
There is a reason the tactics Russia used on the American elections—which are similar to things they’ve done in former Soviet republics and in Europe—are referred to as “asymmetric warfare”: They embody the art of leverage, of doing a lot with a little. As former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress in May, the Russians “succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and at minimal cost.” The whole operation, according to Clapper, cost a mere $200 million—a pittance in military spending terms. But the Russians used that money not the way a conventional army would, but the way a band of guerrillas would, feeling around for pressure points, and pressing—or not. Though, as Bloombergreported this month, the Russians were clearly exploring ways to attack voting infrastructure in parts of the country, it still appears they ultimately decided not to pull the trigger, sticking instead with the hack-and-dump and the manufacturing of fake news. “It was ad hoc,” an Obama administration official told me shortly after the inauguration. “They were kind of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what would stick.”
She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.
The ashes filled a black plastic box about the size of a toaster. It weighed three and a half pounds. I put it in a canvas tote bag and packed it in my suitcase this past July for the transpacific flight to Manila. From there I would travel by car to a rural village. When I arrived, I would hand over all that was left of the woman who had spent 56 years as a slave in my family’s household.
The evacuations follow a deadly fire at the Grenfell Tower, where flammable cladding likely contributed to the deaths of at least 79 residents.
More than 800 London households are being evacuated from the city’s publicly owned apartment towers after failing independent safety tests. The tests come more than a week after a fire at West London’s Grenfell Tower killed at least 79 people, with the death toll expected to rise. The blaze is said to have been accidentally caused by a refrigerator fire, but most likely perpetuated by flammable cladding and insulation that builders saw as a cost-effective alternative to safer, more expensive materials. The British government announced yesterday that around 600 high-rise buildings in England may contain a similar type of cladding.
On Friday, five apartment towers in North London’s Camden area were evacuated after the London Fire Brigade said they couldn’t ensure residents’ safety. Displaced residents were encouraged to stay with nearby friends and family, but were guaranteed temporary accommodations. Those without a place to stay were reportedly directed to a nearby community center, where they were given air beds. In a statement to reporters, the leader of Camden council, Georgia Gould, said the council was “absolutely determined to ensure that our residents are safe” and would “continue to act swiftly and be open and transparent.” “I know it’s difficult, but Grenfell changes everything,” she said.
You still can, and thousands of people do it every day.
The first two telephone numbers a little kid learns are usually 911 and their own.
When I was about 5 years old, I decided to call 911—just to see what would happen, even though I knew I wasn’t supposed to. When a dispatcher answered, I promptly hung up. They promptly called back.
This led to a conversation I suspect many mothers have had with many curious children. It must have been around the same era when I learned of what seemed at the time to be a great secret of telephony. There was another number I could call, and I could call it any time and as many times as I wanted, without getting in trouble.
In Baltimore in the 1980s, if you dialed 844-1212, a pleasant automated voice would tell you the exact time. The message was something like this: “Good morning. At the tone, the time will be 8:55 and 50 seconds.” Then there was a curt beep, and the message would repeat with an updated time. You could keep listening as it counted up in increments of 10 seconds. Eventually, you got disconnected.